“God Draws with Crooked Lines”

Each year St. Anthony’s celebrates our founder, Father (Fr.) Alfred Boeddeker, by giving an award in his name to those who carry out his mission to “feed, heal, shelter, clothe, and lift the hearts of those in need.” This year, the award will honor Fr. John Hardin, OFM, a man who followed Fr. Alfred by becoming a Franciscan and by serving hope daily at St. Anthony’s. As Executive Director, Fr. John helped reshape St. Anthony’s programs to fit changing needs in a changing economy. He helped prepare the organization for the demands of the 21st century by replacing our deteriorated original building with two new, more efficient ones. He has been noted for connecting emotionally with our guests, and for his Franciscan qualities of personalism and joy. John Hardin graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in mathematics and was successful in the transportation business before entering the Franciscans. On his first trip overseas, John was eating dinner at the Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong harbor when he looked out and saw a group of boat people coming in from Vietnam. “The nickel dropped. I was having a great time and not worrying about anything, and here were these people who had barely survived a very dangerous journey to escape Vietnam and certainly did not know where they were going to get their next meal.” Once at home, he went to a retreat center and met the Franciscans for the first time. He has now been in the order for thirty-five years. Fr. John lived at St. Boniface with Fr. Alfred from 1986 to 1991. “Alfred’s motto was:...

Interview With Shari Roeseler And Fr. John Hardin

Shari Roeseler is a respected leader in the nonprofit sector, having worked extensively with Mercy Housing California, a key provider of affordable low-income housing programs in California, over the last ten years. Most recently, she served as the Vice President of Resource Development, and was responsible for all the California fundraising for the well known national non-profit. “We are thrilled to have Shari Roeseler lead St. Anthony Foundation into the future,” noted Deputy Executive Director, Linda Pasquinucci. “As we ramp up to building an up-to-date Dining Room, Shari’s leadership, development expertise, and passion for serving the poor will enable St. Anthony’s to continue to meet the needs of San Francisco’s most vulnerable...

We Need Each Other: A September 11 Memory

At 8:45 am on September 11, 2001, I was getting off the M4 bus at 79th and 5th on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I was on my way to class at CUNY Hunter College School of Social Work, where I was an MSW student. I remember hearing the radio of a car parked along 79th Street. The radio announcer said that there was a hole in the World Trade Center. I remember thinking, “Morning radio DJs are getting really desperate. That’s not a funny joke.” Our class took a break just before 10:00 am, and one student who came in late told us that she heard that an airplane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. I imagined a tiny private plane had grazed the building, and figured that the plane probably had sustained more damage than the building. I went outside and walked around the corner to my favorite coffee shop. I was surprised to see that the coffee shop employees were closing the gate to the store. I asked them what was going on and they said that their boss told them to lock up and go home. Before I could ask why, one of the employees looked at me and said, “Terrorism. Planes are crashing into buildings on purpose. One into each of the twin towers. Another one just hit the Pentagon.” The rest of the day is a blur. What I do remember, though, is something that I’m not very proud of. I was so afraid that I felt like I had to separate myself from everything that was happening. I didn’t want...

Our Challenges Continue. Let’s Face Them Together.

St. Anthony Foundation began back in the middle of the last century when the children of the Depression joined together to help the victims of an economy still recovering from World War II. The booms and busts of population shifts and changing job markets left some out in the cold and many lined up on Golden Gate Avenue. In today’s extremely challenging economy, St. Anthony Foundation can continue to attend to the needs of those affected by this crisis because we still depend on that higher instinct that we share with our supporters–the courage to reach out in generosity. For St. Anthony’s, that means being prepared to serve more meals in our Dining Room, which means more food to procure and more volunteers to cultivate. For those who support our work with their large and small donations, that means framing personal financial concerns within the context of those whose struggles may be more immediate or critical. For those who support our work with their volunteer time, that means inviting friends to share in their volunteer experience, as a way not just of volunteering their time, but also of moving through this economic paralysis by sharing the values of gratitude and service. And for the staff, it means longer hours, more innovative resource management, and more opportunities to cheer on those who make it through the struggle each day. The experts are telling us that, like the Great Depression, these economic developments will affect a generation. Standing with the poor through seven recessions over the past fifty-eight years tells us that the impact will reverberate even beyond that. While some...

Thanksgiving Recap

Last week at Thanksgiving, St. Anthony Dining Room served nearly 3,500 hot turkey meals. It was touching how many of guests that waiting in line for a hot meal shared what they were grateful for on our “Tree Of Thanksgiving”. As Thanksgiving rolls into the Christmas season, there is lot to be learned from taking stock of what all have to be grateful for. Guests share the blessings they are most grateful for with each other on a “tree” posted in the lobby of St. Anthony Dining Room. Fr. John welcoming guests and volunteers to the 58th Thanksgiving Meal at St. Anthony Dining Room. Close to 3,500 meals were served! Turkey, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing and pumkin pie – many bellies went home full that...

Merry Christmas From Fr. John Hardin

Dear friends, All the holiday celebrations and special festivities happening around St. Anthony’s these days remind me that another year is coming to an end and a new year is about to begin. I’m very excited and filled with hope about these months that lie ahead. We’ll be moving into our new building in May; we’ll be serving more people in our expanded clinic; we’ll be moving ahead with the construction of a new Dining Room. As this year ends, I invite you to help all these great things begin by making a donation to St. Anthony Foundation. You’ll be helping us begin a new year of hope and helping our guests begin new lives. God Bless You, Fr. John Hardin, OFM St. Anthony Foundation To hear Fr. John speak about hunger in the Bay Area on KQED’s forum, click...